Chet Baker’s Soulful Version of ‘Time After Time’

The jazz trum­peter and singer Chet Bak­er was born on this day in 1929. Ear­li­er we fea­tured Let’s Get Lost, Bruce Weber’s doc­u­men­tary of the musi­cian’s trou­bled life. Today we take you back to 1964, when Bak­er was 34, as he per­forms a melan­choly inter­pre­ta­tion of the Sam­my Cahn and Jule Styne stan­dard, “Time After Time.”

The scene is from a Bel­gian tele­vi­sion pro­gram. Bak­er is joined by French pianist Rene Urtreger, Bel­gian flautist Jacques Pelz­er, and an Ital­ian rhythm sec­tion of Lui­gi Trussar­di on bass and Fran­co Manzec­chi on drums. Bak­er sings and plays the flugel­horn. The Bel­gian TV show, along with a per­for­mance 15 years lat­er in Nor­way, are pre­served in the Jazz Icons DVD Chet Bak­er Live in ’64 and ’79. In the lin­er notes, Rob Bow­man writes:

Beau­ty comes in many forms. In music, it can be the result of a per­fect­ly con­struct­ed melod­ic line, a har­mon­ic voic­ing that sends shiv­ers down your spine, a groove that some­how cap­tures the joy of being alive, or a tim­bre so sen­su­ous­ly rich that it makes your body quiver from head to toe. In the case of Chet Bak­er, a jazzman capa­ble of spin­ning out some of the most aching­ly beau­ti­ful music human beings have ever known, beau­ty was a result of find­ing the poignan­cy in sor­row, in deploy­ing pitch inflec­tion, melod­ic arc and a vibra­to­less tim­bre to con­jure up some­thing of rar­efied val­ue in a life of addic­tion and end­less dis­ap­point­ment. There are many vir­tu­osic tech­ni­cians in the his­to­ry of jazz. Few of them could cap­ture the pathos of the human con­di­tion in the way that Bak­er did.

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